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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Family Ministry- A Model- Milestone 7

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3- Milestones 1 & 2

Part 4- Milestones 3 & 4

Part 5- Milestones 5 & 6

Well...we've "made it".  And, if you'll notice, the process begins at birth and we now find ourselves with a high school graduate.  For those of you really paying attention...this took 18 years.  Please focus on the last part of that last sentence..."this took 18 years."  This is discipleship.  There is no quick fix option for making followers of Christ.  For making "rule-followers" and "pew sitters"?  That's the easiest thing in the world.  But, discipleship is an entirely different row to hoe.  But...even here...after high school...we are not done.  If those 18 years were rough, the "terrible two's", adolescence, the temptations of high school...what about college?  Career?  Life in the church?  Parenthood?

Milestone 7- Life in Christ. "Every adult has a place at the table of Milestone 7--single or married, kids or no kids, young or old, all of us must abide in Christ and join him in the mission.  Churches embracing a strategy linking church and home for the spiritual formation of the next generation can;t afford to be apathetic about adult spiritual development.  All along the path of milestones, we ask adults to be disciple-makers.  Adults who become parents are expected to be the primary faith influencers of their children.  Adults from every season of life serve in the ministries relating to children and teenagers.  The key to this entire strategy involves developing adults who are also parents, volunteer leaders and deeply committed Christ-followers."

Wow.  You read that right, every single adult in the church, regardless of age, situation...every one, is committed to making disciples of the young people in the church.  
  • Champion:  The champion for this milestone is the discipleship pastor, spiritual formation pastor or senior pastor.  This person has three primary responsibilities:
    • Selection of curriculum that is focused on making disciples of Jesus Christ, teaches the Bible, embraces the core competencies (below) of this milestone, and integrates families.  If this seems like a lot, it is because it is.  As noted above, discipleship is not easy, and frankly, we need to stop acting like we make them when people simply sit in a pew for an hour on Sunday mornings.  If we are not holistic in our approach...if we are not truly equipping people, then we are not making disciples.  
    • Equips volunteer leaders to teach the Bible and model life in Christ.  If we are not equipping out lay leaders to lead, we are failing.
    • Works to equip all the adults to pursue life as people abiding in Christ. 
  • Core Competencies:  
    • Prayer- "When we study the earthly life of Jesus, we find a man of prayer."
    • Scripture- "Followers of Christ learn to study Scripture so they can live Jesus' way."
    • Authentic faith- "Authentic faith bows to the supremacy of Jesus as King, recognizing him as the head of every church and every home, according to Colossians 1:18."
    • Obedient follower- "Obedient followers know the Shepherd's voice and respond to his direction."
    • Disciple-maker- "We point adults to every ministry in our church for the opportunity to disciple others."  This is a fascinating concept, and one that I believe many churches miss.  Serving on the worship team, the building team, leading a class, cleaning the bathrooms, working in the kitchen, time with's all about making disciples.  If we've not made that clear...then people are simply "filling a spot."  Every role we fill is bent on making disciples.
    • Giving/serving- "What if we truly gave and served to the point of making ourselves last so everyone else could be first?  What if we were truly servants of all?  Adults who embrace this core competency join in Christ's ministry to others.  Parents who learn to give and serve raise kids who respect others, love others, and prove it by giving and serving.  Husbands and wives who give and serve don't divorce."
    • Community- "We were designed for community.  The problem is that we're conditioned to be individualistc and self-sufficient...Biblical church is community."
  • Equipping Environments:  
    • Small group Bible studies- Teach adults Scripture and foster community
    • Adult education- Wednesday night classes geared to teach core competencies of the various milestones, within community.
    • Worship- Immerses adults in Scripture and milestones are highlighted as they occur.
Hard questions/why this might fail:  How committed are we to making disciples?  A strategy like the one above will force us to re-think every aspect of our corporate church life.  Sacred cows will be killed left and right, our time will be dramatically re-oriented, our priority-set will change.  We will spend time leading people down paths that might be better for them, against their wishes.  We will be constantly forced to choose between what we desire, and what we need to become a fully-committed follower of Christ.  While there are areas that could be implemented without full and complete church support, the implementation will be limited.

What might a complete overhaul within your church context look like?
How may people might you be willing to have walk because of a change of focus?
What kind of leaders might you need to recruit and equip to implement change?
What are the holes in the above strategy?  What are the blind-spots...the problems?

And...the most important the above Biblical?  Why?  Why not?

Questions?  Concerns?  Possible solutions?

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